4

Every Day Struggle for Life

Watching a hurricane approach can be stressful, especially if you are in the path of the storm. We live inland, so Hurricane Florence will lose some strength before it gets to us. However, after living in Florida for so long, you learn you just never know what’s going to happen until it gets down to the wire. I have friends and family closer to the coast, so it is stressful no matter where the storm goes.

YIMG_6743esterday I just needed to take a short break and decided to walk down to get the mail. We live on a hill with a steep driveway and a steep road. The mailbox is at the bottom of the hill so it is a nice little walk. I stepped out of the front door and a bright yellow leaf caught my eye. It was in the driveway, but had not yet turned brown and brittle like the others. The trees were shedding preparing to go dormant for the coming winter months. As I walked along, I noticed how many plants were budding. Fall is just around the corner so this juxtaposition of dying leaves and new growth reminded me of the constant struggle for life.

When my grandchildren were here this summer, we took a twice daily walk down to a little creek beyond our mailbox. The first day we saw a snake sunning himself on the rocks. At the slightest vibration, he disappeared into the rocks. My granddaughter named him Jerry. I asked “Why Jerry?”. She explained it was after Tom and Jerry because Jerry always ran away. I love that child!

IMG_6750So, today I decided to walk down to the creek in search of Jerry. At the bottom of the hill, I noticed a bright white dead branch hanging from a tree at the end of our road. I think that tree may see some damage if we get the winds they are predicting with the hurricane. That might have been the last time I would see it suspended from the green portion of the living tree.

As I walked further down the road, I noticed the county had painted new lines on the road. They were bright in contrast to the pavement. I wondered how long the road had been there and just how many times it had been painted over the years. How many people and animals IMG_6752had crossed this road?

I tiptoed to the bridge to look for Jerry among the rocks. I was barely able to catch a glimpse of him before he slithered back into hiding. We are so afraid of snakes but I think he is just trying to survive like the rest of us.IMG_6753

The next few days are going to be precarious for a lot of living creatures. We are all in the same struggle for life. I recently read that half of the population of wild parrots were killed when Hurricane Hugo hit Puerto Rico.  Makes me sad for all the l creatures I share my world with. It is a constant reminder that we are all in this thing called life together. All struggling, fighting and praying for things to return to normal.

Stay safe everyone.

2

Transitions

img_2549I follow Kim Halsey‘s Leading With Heart Facebook page. She creates some thought-provoking videos and this morning was no different. It was short and concise but she said something that struck a chord with me. She mentioned women who are in some sort of transition. That word stuck with me all morning. I think perhaps this is what I am feeling. Maybe not in the way most people imagine transitioning to be, but I feel I am definitely in-between phases of my life.

Today I was overwhelmed with news of Hurricane Florence aiming sights on the Carolinas. After living in Florida for 18 years you come to understand the cycle of hurricane preparation. If you watch or read or listen too much, you will drive yourself crazy. We lived through one summer with three hurricanes: Charlie, Frances and Jeanne. We lived with our windows boarded up for the last two and I thought I would go stark raving mad. What you learn after 18 years of this annual trauma is to learn to exercise extreme self care. Once you know it is headed your way, you get your supplies together and resist the urge to check on the status every three hours as the National Hurricane Center makes its updates.

So, I shut off Facebook and decided to go outside. Nature has always been my solace and today is no different. I took my phone so I could snap some photos along the way. The first day of fall is September 22. I love fall. Color comes back for a brief while. I am thrilled with the mix of orange, yellow and red everywhere you look – especially here in my mountains. If Florence heads our way though, we might lose a lot of foliage before the leaves change. Nope, cannot think about that.

What I saw outside was my little world in transition. Summer is coming to an end and the green leaves are struggling to stay alive. New shoots are mixed with dried, brown leaves that have already given up to the change in seasons. I saw a few blooms – the last of the season I am sure – still bright in color as if to defy the transition that lies ahead. I saw a beautiful yellow butterfly – leaf shaped – that managed to disappear into the foliage. It was frantically darting in and out of the foliage looking for the last bit of available food. It was beautiful – so bright amongst all the dark green leaves. I tried to get close enough to take a photo, but, sometimes the only time you see God’s little miracles are to be there – in the moment – to witness them.

I am not sure what this transition is for me, but I am anxious to dig in and discover what I am leaving behind and what discovery lies ahead. It’s nice to know I am in sync with Mother Nature. She is a glorious companion to welcome along on my journey.